Saturday, December 10, 2011

Different, Not Less...

It's been way too long since I've posted on this blog! I will admit that I typed up a very lengthy post about two weeks ago. I was having a very rough day that day. I typed up exactly what I was feeling. It was not good. While I like to be honest about my "I really dislike Autism today" days, what I typed was a little too honest...if you know what I mean. So, instead of hitting "publish post", I erased it. It still felt good to get it off my chest, though!

I went on a date last night with my eight year old daughter. We were sitting down waiting for our food to be served, and Makailee noticed the man sitting with his elderly parents at the table next to us. She could tell something was "different" about this man. He was a middle aged man with Down Syndrome. She kept looking over at him and seemed so interested in him. I whispered to her and reminded her that it's not polite to stare. She said, "I don't mean to keep looking at him mom. I'm sorry. He just Jaxton. Does that man have Autism too?" I told her I would talk to her about it at home.  The tables at the restaurant were very close so we could easily hear/see all that was going on at their table. This sweet man was telling his parents that he had made breakfast for himself the other day. French toast! He raved about how great his French Toast was. It made me smile. Every single time the waitress walked by to check on them, he was so polite and made sure he said "thank you" each time he saw her. They were all chatting and his dad said something that made him laugh. He laughed so hard and couldn't stop laughing. They were all three laughing together and it was the best sound in the world.

When we arrived home, I had a little talk with my daughter. I explained to her that the man in the restaurant has Down Syndrome. She asked me what the difference is between Autism and Down Syndrome. I explained the differences to her a little bit and reminded her that we are all a little bit different from one another and that is a good thing. She asked me if this man is smart because he kind of seemed like a little kid to her. I asked her if she remembered him talking about how he made French Toast. She remembered. I told her you'd have to be pretty smart to be able to make French Toast all by yourself! She agreed. She said, "that is true! I can't even make French Toast yet!" I pointed out all of his great qualities to her. We talked about how polite he was. He always said please and thank you. I reminded her how great his laugh was. This man is full of love and kindness. He is happy.

Different. Not less.

I won't lie. We have many difficult moments having a child with Autism. We also have wonderful moments too. Many of them. We were at Target today and Jaxton saw something he wanted near the registers. I told him we could not buy any toys today. He asked a few more times and I told him no. He got really upset...started screaming, crying, kicking me, and punching himself on the head. He does this sometimes. The lady at the register was waiting for me to pay. I had several people behind me but they would just have to wait a few seconds. I held his face in my hands, whispered to him to calm him, and gave him a big hug. He stopped crying and said, "Sorry mom. I love you so, so much." I said, "I love you more."

We have an amazing, special little boy and we are so blessed to have him in our family. I am so thankful he is my son.